The Africa diaspora – funk

Then the skies opened and down came a bass drum, followed by a snare, and the boom and the bap were born.

Then the skies opened and down came a bass drum, followed by a snare, and the boom and the bap were born. Earl Palmer said he invented the back-beat, what he called “The Big Beat”, in New Orleans. Earl Palmer is perhaps the most recorded drummer in the world, paying on countless New Orleans R&B records in the fifties and then moving to L.A. to become a session drummer in the burgeoning music industry there. He makes a bold claim, but regardless of its specificities, no one can argue that “The Big Beat” didn’t come out of New Orleans. Producer of the last two major shifts in our American pop music aesthetic, New Orleans would strike again and push the beat harder and further than it had previously gone.

The South

LISTEN TO THE BEATS!!! Ooooooh the tight tight New Orleans beats!!!! Whooooooo child!!!

Eddie Bo


Ok, so once those jams happened and began to ooze North, it didn’t take to long to get to Macon, Georgia – home to James Brown. James took “The Big Beat” to new heights and became the absolute Godfather and inventor of funk music. He took what those New Orleans folks had riled up and let out the fierce, funky fury on all our ears. LISTEN!!!

James Brown



Fela Kuti was a highlife saxophone player, not a major player on the Nigerian music scene until, upon moving to L.A. for a small time, he happened to catch The Godfather himself. Continuing to push the beat to its highest highs, James Brown inspired Fela to return to Africa and start himself a band.

Fela Kuti


Fela Kuti is a monster figure even amongst the incredibly large and complicated landscape of African popular music. He created what came to be called Afro-Beat, a music that is part thumping African indigenous beats and part flaming hot James Brown fire. Fela would go on to influence an entire continent, and his music continues to bounce back and forth across the ocean, melting minds and hearts everywhere. MORE AFRO-BEAT!!!

El Rego Et Ses Commandos



Not to be wallflowers on the global funk party scene, the folks scattered about the Caribbean Islands made some jams of their own. From Panama…

Los Dinamicos Exciters


From Belize…

Soul Creation


And girl, don’t think those Jamaicans weren’t listening too. Listen to these few seconds from legendary Staple Singers track “I’ll Take You There”

Staple singers


and from Jamaica…




So in Brazil, Samba happened, and then Bossa happened, and then they got stoked about some American jams, and some pop music happened, and then the beast of Tropicalia happened. THEN, the Brazilian Samba-funk-booty-shakin’ shit happened. It’s a combination of all those beautiful Brazilian musics – plus some beaches, palm trees, and caipirinhas – and it sounds like this…

Jorge Ben


And then kinda like this…

Bossa 70


And then those Brazilians get a little bit cheesy. But it’s a beautiful kind of special Brazilian cheese that only they can get away with. BAM!!

Banda Black Rio


Ok Ok Ok. So first those African drums, and then those jazzy jazzy drums, and then those boogie-woogie drums, and now those monster, rafter-shaking, Godzilla beats that shake the world over. Everyone loves them, and they continue to trickle down and find new homes in almost every genre in our iTunes library. Love them like your child. They will make your life better, more complete, and reshape your cold frozen robot heart into a heart of gold.

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Matthew E. White

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